Archive for Aug 2008

                          P3P and Internet Explorer

                          If your Web service does anything that sets cookies, you'll probably bump up against the fact that Internet Explorer--since version 6--has implemented a fairly strict privacy policy regarding cookies. In a nutshell, if the site does not have the right P3P privacy policy, first-party cookies (i.e. from the site itself) are downgraded to session cookies and not stored in between browser sessions and third party cookies (i.e. from another site) are rejected completely. Here's what to do to solve this problem. P3P, or the Platform for Privacy Preferences is a W3C "protocol allowing websites to declare their intended use
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                          Starting a High Tech Business: Sell Before You're Ready

                          I'm starting a new business called Kynetx. As I go through some of the things I do, I'm planning to blog them. The whole series will be here. This is the fifteenth installment. You may find my efforts instructive. Or you may know a better way---if so, please let me know! One of the things that ought to strike fear into any technologist's heart is getting your first customer. You've spent months building a product you hope people will buy and find useful and suddenly someone actually is putting their faith in you and your baby. You're happy, of
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                          Anti-Perl Social Engineering

                          Dave Cross has a piece on why corporations hate Perl. He's being a little hyperbolic (as he admits)--not everyone hates Perl, but he's right in noting that there is a backlash against it. He says: I was talking to people from one such company last night. The Powers That Be at this company have announced that Perl is no longer their language of choice for web systems and that over time (probably a lot of time) systems will be rewritten in a combination of Java and PHP. Management have started to refer to Perl-based systems as "legacy" and to
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                          CTO Breakfast Next Week in Conjunction with UTOSC

                          We'll be holding the CTO Breakfast next week on Thursday at 8am in conjunction with the 2008 Utah Open Source Conference. You don't have to be going to the conference to attend the breakfast, but I do have discount codes available for CTO Breakfast attendees. Contact me if you're like one. The Utah Open Source Conference 2008 will be held at the Salt Lake Community College, Redwood Road campus from August 28 - 30, 2008. We'll be meeting in rooms 221/223 of the Student Center (SC) at the Salt Lake Community College (Redwood Road campus). Here's a map that
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                          The Run to Ubiquity

                          Craig Burton has written a nice essay on why software infrastructure behaves differently, economically speaking, than other products and why that upsets the natural inclination most people have relative to protectionism. That, of course, is what the whole net neutrality debate is about. As Craig says, artificially disrupting the "run to ubiquity" in the software infrastructure on which we all depend, disrupts all players: all So here is my point about the inverted supply and demand model; today's core software infrastructure is made up of a core set of services. Roughly, file, print, web, database, directory, security, and the
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                          The TechCrunch 50 Mosh Pit: Is It Worth It?

                          We were notified that Kynetx will not be one of the TechCrunch 50. Ah well... The rejection notice said this: We are sorry to let you know that your company was not selected as a finalist for the TechCrunch50 conference. As you know, we are only able to select a very, very small percentage of the more than 1,000 outstanding applications we receive. Your company was among a select set of candidates that we considered, and it was a difficult decision driven purely by the limited number of presentation slots. Since we regarded your business so highly, we want
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                          Namespaces, Twitter, Identi.ca, and Federation

                          A few days ago I wrote about federating with Identi.ca. Yesterday I had a great chat with Craig Burton about that whole idea. He's not buying. I asked him to respond on his blog so we could move the discussion online. My argument was essentially that moving Twitter-like functionality onto a distributed platform was a good thing and likely to make more people comfortable with the idea of building out additional functionality in the micro-blogging space (what people have started to call the space that Twitter is in). The fly in the ointment, from my perspective, is the additional
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                          Federating with Identi.ca

                          Twitter's performance problems over the past few months have made people skittish about basing businesses, even ideas, on it. The problem isn't just performance problems, however. When one company controls what many come to consider a key piece of infrastructure (who'd have thought they'd read that about Twitter 18 months ago), it creates a brittle situation. What if they can't perform or go out of business? Enter Identi.ca, a Twitter-like site that's based on open source software called laconi.ca. The key problem with something like Identi.ca is that if it's just another centralized solution, nothing's changed. Laconi.ca has the
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                          Using a Pre-Commit Hook to Check Puppet Syntax

                          The whole idea of Puppet is to put your machine configuration scripts in a versioned repository. This is good because I've found that a syntax error on a manifest not even used by the current machine will stop the puppet updates from running. One error anywhere kills the whole thing everywhere. So, being able to back out of a change is good. We can go one better however and keep people from checking in files that aren't syntactically correct using the pre-commit hook in SVN. If you don't use SVN, your repository probably has something similar. I followed these
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                          Defining the New Singularity

                          I'm stil catching up on my IT Conversations listening after being gone on vacation for 10 days. This morning I listened to Mark Rolston's talk from the Emerging Communications conference entitled The New Singularity. Contrary to what you might think from the title, this isn't about "the" Singularity, but rather the idea that we typically have one concept about what a product should and the phone belies that. I really enjoyed the thinking about products and designs. I found myself wishing I could ask a few questions!
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                          Puppet Fun

                          I'm continuing to explore the use of puppet for managing systems. I'm convinced that it's the best system for managing large groups of interacting servers and keeping them all in sync. For example, today I was trying to figure out why a cronjob that processes log files wasn't working. Turns out that it was a system issue and there was also a problem with mail aliases, so we weren't even finding out. I create a simple puppet recipe for all our machines that simply ensures crond is running. That's basic and now it's ensured on all our machines. This
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